Monday, October 25, 2010

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger - Historical Romance and Halloween!

Have you ever wondered how Halloween got started? Did you know that the Irish immigrants brought the tradition to America in the 1800s? All my books are “sweet” romances for teens and adults. Listen to the video and read the sample chapter below and list one thing that grabs your attention. By the way, the excerpt doesn’t reveal who the mysterious stranger is. Happy Reading!

Edith and the Mysterious Stranger
A Family Saga in Bear Lake, Idaho

With mysterious letters, cattle rustlers, a spunky woman, the liar's fire, Halloween, and young love, there is always something happening. Edith has wonderful qualities but never gives a man a second chance because her expectations are so high. However, all that changes when a mysterious stranger begins to write to her. For the first time, she gets to know a man's inner soul before making any harsh judgments. Whoever he is, this man is a mystery and the best thing that has ever happened to her.
Halloween Day

Edith finished brushing her wavy black tresses and allowed them to fall gracefully down to her shoulders. She would dress up as a Spanish señorita for Halloween. She grabbed a red flowered skirt and pulled it on. It had three gathered tiers with a wide ruffle at the bottom. Then she pulled on a simple white peasant blouse that tied at the neck. Next she hung a dangling gold earring from each ear and slipped on her black shoes.

Halloween was one of Edith's favorite times of the year because family and neighbors would get together and dress up in festive costumes, eat foods of the season, and play games. The custom of Halloween started in Europe during the harvest season. The Europeans would celebrate the end of summer by having a harvest feast the last day of October. They would build bonfires to cook the feast and also to keep the ghosts away. They were a superstitious people and believed that ghosts roamed about on the last day of October. Hallow meant holy and e’en was short for evening. Because this celebration was the evening before All Hallows Day or All Saints Day, they decided to call it Halloween.

Smiling in the mirror, she pinched her cheeks for color and then carefully placed a red silk flower in her dark tresses just above her ear for decoration and color. The red flower and skirt brought out the beauty in her olive complexion. She truly looked like a lovely Spanish señorita.
Edith felt pleased with her costume. Her heart beat a little faster this afternoon and her spirits were high. She was not sure if her mysterious stranger would appear, but she had high hopes.

As she walked into the kitchen, her mother turned to look at her. Martha’s eyes widened, and then she smiled. “Oh my! Edith, you look radiant. I’ve never seen you look more beautiful.”

“Why, thank you, Mama. I appreciate that.”

“This young man is going to be knocked out of his shoes. I know that, for sure. He’d better be holding onto something when he sees you.”

Edith laughed. Her laughter was light and cheerful, and Martha laughed along with her.

“Mama, what if he doesn’t come?”

“Don’t worry. I know he’s coming.”

“How do you know?”

“Just a feeling.” Martha smiled and then held up an envelope for her to see. “I have a letter for you that was dropped by today.”

She grabbed the envelope, tore it open, and pulled out the note. As she unfolded it, Edith held her breath. Staring at the words on the paper, she slowly let her breath out, and read, “Seven-thirty tonight.” Those were the only words on the note.

Edith swallowed and then looked up at her mother. Martha already knew that he was coming, but she asked, just the same. “Well? Is he coming?”

Edith nodded, not able to say a word. When it was seven o‘clock, she realized that her excitement had turned to nervousness. And then she became pale as she started to question herself and her feelings for this man. Doubts were coming in all forms and directions. She was getting cold feet. The old feelings were coming back. When she doubted the man’s ability to rise to her expectations, she would not give the man another chance.

As she paced the floor, questions gradually invaded her mind. What if he was not what she expected? What if he was dull in person and exciting only in his letters? What if he had a long nose and bulging eyes? What if he was way shorter than she? Heaven forbid! That would be awful. Most men she met were shorter than she was, and this dismayed her. Oh my, this was not going well!

Edith shook her head. “No, if he had a long nose, I would love it. If he had bulging eyes, I wouldn’t care. The person in those letters is whom I care about, not his looks. Besides, we’re only friends.” Then her eyes widened as she asked herself, “But what if he doesn't like me in person?”

A knock sounded at the door, and Edith’s eyes widened as she gasped. She stood frozen to the spot. Another knock came from the door and she tried to move, but her feet were not obedient. Nervousness had taken over, and she tried to overcome it by taking a few deep breaths. Her hands were trembling with anticipation, and her heart pounded furiously. When she noticed that her deep breaths were making her faint, she decided that deep breathing was not such a good idea after all. After a third knock, she let out a puff of air and then walked toward the door and opened it.

Standing before her was a Spanish bandido. He looked just like a desperado, and he fit the part perfectly. He was dressed all in black. He had on black boots, pants, shirt and hat. His black mask covered part of his nose and eyebrows, and all she could see were his soft blue eyes gazing at her. Between her uneasiness and her delight in seeing him, she was not sure how to greet him. Should she extend her hand for a handshake or what?

The bandido walked in with a grin on his face. He shut the door behind him and then stood where he was as his eyes swept over her. She was a vision of loveliness—breathtaking with her rich, black hair hanging softly to her shoulders and a red flower next to her cheek. Her dark eyes sparkled with happiness and her olive complexion glowed. He couldn’t help but notice how her dress enhanced the gentle curves of her figure.

When Edith saw how he was looking at her, she blushed and lowered her eyes. The way he was gazing at her made her feel beautiful.

Seeing that he had embarrassed her, he quickly spoke with a Spanish accent, “Señorita, como estas?”

Just hearing his voice sent her spirits soaring. It was low and gentle. Edith raised her eyes and smiled. She knew just a little Spanish and replied, “I’m fine. And you?”

Afraid that she would recognize his voice, he tried to avoid speaking English. If he really needed to, then he planned to whisper. He took her hand in his and said, “Señorita Bonita.” Then he bowed, tenderly lifted her hand, and pressed his lips intimately against the back of her hand, sending a tingling up her arm and to her heart.

Edith’s eyes widened as she blushed. “Señor, do you kiss the hand of every señorita you meet?”

Solamente tu.”

“Only me?” Edith’s eyes lowered once again and she blushed a second time.
The bandido smiled as if amused by her shy mannerisms. Still holding her hand in his, not wanting to let go, he whispered, “Señorita, you surprise me. Why are you so reserved with me? We have written to one another for several months now.”

Edith shook her head and took a deep breath. “I don’t know.”

The bandido smiled. His blue eyes studied her intently, searching for an answer. Edith’s attitude was enchanting and she looked so appealing to him. Not only that, her coy manner was refreshing. As he gazed warmly upon her, he realized this woman was very special—special to him. A strong desire to kiss her rose within him as his eyes trailed to her rosy lips. With an impulse of tenderness, he took her by the shoulders and placed a gentle kiss on her luscious lips. He was surprised at the depth of his emotions. Her closeness and tender kiss had their effects on him, causing his heart to pick up speed and turning his senses to mush. He had not planned to be so forward, but he could not help himself. He had fallen in love with Edith.

For Edith, this was completely unexpected. She was not only unprepared for what was happening at this very moment, but she was surprised at the emotions spreading through her. She felt happier than she had ever been in her entire life. And she knew this was what it felt like to be in love and to be cherished by another. This man had magnetic charm, and she instantly responded to it. His hands were strong, and his gentle touch made her heart sing. Her spirits rose, and a warm glow filled her heart as he squeezed her shoulders tenderly. His lingering kiss had made her heart skip several beats and she realized she was falling in love.

When the bandido released her lips and gazed into her eyes, delicious warmth filled his inner soul. A rush of love spread through him. He was smitten and he knew it. He ran his hand down the softness of her dark tresses, feeling the thick curls beneath his fingers. The scent of it smelled like rose water. She smelled so delicious. He gently touched her face longingly, feeling the smoothness of her skin beneath his palm. Unable to help himself, he cupped her face in his hand and slightly lifted her chin, and then gently pressed his warm lips to hers once again. He slowly enfolded her in his arms and held her close, feeling the softness of her in his embrace, caressing her back, and falling deeper in love than ever before. Warmth began to envelop him as he realized his true feelings for her. It was definitely time to go. He had lost his heart and had overstayed his visit.

He slowly stepped backwards as he gradually slid his hands down her arms, took her hands in his and squeezed them lovingly. When he gazed into her eyes, he noticed that his touch had taken her breath away. This made the bandido grin. He quickly backed up, bowed, and then turned on his heels and walked toward the door.
He gave a wink over his shoulder and said with a charming smile, “Adios, Señorita. Vaya con Dios.” Then he closed the door behind him.

Edith was dazed and her breathing was shallow. She swallowed and then drew in a breath, feeling a little lightheaded. What had just happened? She knew what had happened. That kiss had not only sent her a message of his adoring love, but it completely changed their relationship. He had actually sealed his love with one simple kiss. That was what had happened. In fact, it was more than just a simple kiss. That kiss definitely had its effects on her, causing her heart to beat erratically.

From now on, she would not think of him as just a friend. She knew that much. Not after that kiss. Not after it had made her feel wanted and needed. Their friendship had instantly changed with that one delectable kiss. Edith collapsed upon the sofa. As she tried to relive what had just happened, she realized that his voice was low and pleasant sounding. She liked it a lot. She was not disappointed in him at all.

Vaya con Dios,” she thought to herself. She knew what that meant. She smiled to herself. He had told her, “May God be with you.”

That was such a nice thought. She relaxed into the comfort of the sofa with a smile playing at the corners of her mouth. Her eyes closed as she recalled the evening and the softness of his lips once again…and again…and again.
(To find out why this mysterious stranger is writing to her in the first place, click on the book cover on the right side bar and read the excerpt from the book.)


Gail Pallotta said...

An interesting mystery. I want to know, who's the bandito?

Sherrill S. Cannon said...

Sounds intriguing, especially the line "Afraid that she would recognize his voice..." Hmmmm.

apple blossom said...

Love mystery, romance and historical. This sounds like my kind of book all in one. Very intriguing. Thanks

ABreading4fun [at] gmail [dot] com

misskallie2000 said...

OH I love this book already. Mystery, romance and excitement going on. I want to know who the stranger I am adding to my wish list. Thanks for the great review. The excerpt did me in..

misskallie2000 at yahoo dot com

a real librarian said...

Wow, this sounds interesting!! Thanks for the chance to win!


Anonymous said...

please enter me & thx for contest

Mozi Esme said...

Would love to read another of your books!

janemaritz at yahoo dot com

We posted about this giveaway at Winning Readings:

pennyt said...

I love historical mysteries and being set in Idaho was a plus for me as well. Thanks for the giveaway.
pennyt at hotmail dot com

MaureenT said...

I love most historical books. I was not aware that the Irish brought Halloween here!
Please include me!


Glynis Peters said...

Great post. I love Halloween even though I am a year older on the day. ;0

Rhonda said...

I am a huge mystery fan and would love to read this novel


Elizabeth Morgan said...

I Love your books. Sounds wonderful.

Cindy W. said...

Sounds like a great book. I love mysteries!

Cindy W


Anonymous said...

This is the second time recently that I found out that the Irish brought Halloween. Please include me in this give away!

Maureen Timerman: alekee02[at]yahoo[dot]com

rubynreba said...

I would really enjoy this mystery!

Linda Weaver Clarke said...

Well, it's now time to pick a name from the bowl. My husband was playing free cell on his computer. So I decided to disturb him and ask him to draw a name. He dramatically swished his hand around and then drew the small piece of paper out. He looked at it with a confused expression as he tried to pronounce Mozi Esme. I smiled and said, "That's Jane Maritz." Congratulations, Jane! I hope you enjoy this historical romance.

Mutti said...

It is a great book! I loved it. Enjoy it, Jane. The rest of you need to buy it and read it, too! Love, from a big fan!